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Cancer Nurs. 1997 Dec;20(6):409-13.

Supportive therapies for cancer chemotherapy patients and the role of the oncology nurse.

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Department of Patient Care Information Systems, University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston 77030, USA.


Cancer chemotherapy often causes severe side effects, such as neutropenia, nausea and vomiting, and oral complications, which adversely affect patients' quality of life and may interfere with treatment success. A number of supportive therapies, such as colony stimulating-growth factors and antiemetics, have been developed to ameliorate these side effects, however, but often are underutilized. Oncology nurses, who serve as liaisons between oncologists and patients, can have a positive effect on patients' quality of life by educating them about potential side effects and the availability of supportive therapies, and by bringing patients' quality of life concerns and priorities to the attention of physicians. This article reviews the side effects of chemotherapy and the supportive therapies currently available to treat them and explores the role of oncology nurses as advocates for improved quality of life for chemotherapy patients.

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